The Cambodia National Bank is developing its own digital currency based on the blockchain technology, which will be released within the next couple of months.
Reported by Phnom Penh Post, the prospect was brought to the public by Chea Serey, the director-general of the central bank.
Dubbed Project Bakong, it will act like a “national payment gateway” for the country.
“Bakong will play a central role in bringing all players in the payment space in Cambodia under the same platform, making it easy for end-users to pay each other regardless of the institutions they bank with,” Serey told the publication.
The regulator is also planning to allow cross-border payments through the blockchain-based system in the future. The trial of the project has already started last July.
Bringing banks on-board
The currency has already received the support of 11 banks in the country and more banks are in line to join, the report outlined.
“We are in the final stages of the deployment. It has taken a little longer than expected because we were ensuring that the system is as useful and convenient for the users as possible. We will offer the service as soon as it launches,” said Shin Chang Moo, president of Phnom Penh Commercial Bank (PPCBank), one of the participants in the project.
He also clarified that the digital currency will not be a threat to the traditional banking business. Moreover, the highly centralized currency will also eliminate the possibility of speculations, which is very common with digital currencies.
The banks will link the wallet system of the digital currency with the users’ bank accounts, making it easy to exchange the digital currency with fiats. Besides, the central bank is also exploring the idea to introduce a standardized QR code system, in accordance with the ASEAN equivalents.
Meanwhile, the central banks of many developed countries, including Japan and the United Kingdom, are also studying the feasibility of developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).